Tuesday, May 3

GREECE's BEACHES

Been down the beach today. Interesting places. There's lots of them, and if you lined them up end to end, apparently they'd stretch from the Equator to Belgium, though that's pretty useless, for who wants to go to Belgium anyway? And you can't, of course, remove the beaches because then the sea wouldn't have a natural place to stop and would start overflowing inland and drowning the tourists, the locals, the Albanians workers, the very skimpily clad female sex-club workers, and others who spend their time there.
But there is another natural defence against the sea.
It's called beach rubbish, and Greek beaches have just tons of it.
It's an eclectic mix of just about everything. Other than nice, clean, sand.
Fag ends dominate, and they're particularly nasty little things that, if you're timing's wrong and your landing on an empty space just vacated by someone else, can be painful if they're still smoking away under your bare foot. You can spot these hot zones by looking out for people frantically waving their arms and rapidly hopping and leaping one-footed into the sea.
In no particular order, plastic coffee cups are next. The Greek favourite pastime is drinking coffee, and if Greek's aren't parked up in a coffee bar taking their caffeine hit, they do it on the beach instead. You spot these little monster cups by the ends of the straw poking out of the sand. And the kind of mushy, damp, squidgy sticky feeling you get underfoot when you stand the the dripping remnants. Still, cheaper than 6 litres of Tanning Oil for getting your skin a darker shade, I suppose.
Coca-Cola and other fizzy drink cans. Nearly -eaten sandwiches. Empty bottles of tanning oil.
Then there's the danger of flying discs and balls. Not the outer space type or the between one's legs type, but the Frisbee and Bat and Ball types that the bronzed, tetosterone full, locals in g-string swim wear throw around to each other to catch or hit and, most of the time, miss. Often' it can leads to the more original chat up introduction line: 'Hey, hi, sorry about the frisbee embedded in your head but can I buy you a drink....'
I don't want to be picky. I reckon the dreaded UV rays that travel 105 trillion miles through outer space to bombard us with cancer causing death rays are slightly more dangerous. If they've travelled that far to get here, and survived crashing through our contaminated outer atmosphere, they're pretty nasty things, but there's little we can do about them other than coat ourselves in litres of pre-sun, in-sun and after-sun Factor 8 and in doing so triple the cost of the trip to the beach in the first place.
Greece has a refuse problem, with the EU fining them for delays and contraventions to EU eco-policy. I understand that until the local authorities around Athens stop blaming each other, and everyone else, whilst refuse tips pile higher and higher, Attica will continue to smell and the refuse crisis will remain unresolved.
But beach rubbish we can do something about. Greece's primary industry - tourists - love Greece but hate the beaches. If a cafe or bar has a license to operate beachside, surely it's not too much to make them take responsibility, and clean the area up? I mean of cigarette butts and coffee cups, and Frisbees and beach Balls. Not, of course, all the sex-club workers.

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